Brazil and Barcelona legend Ronaldo has warned his former club to do everything in their power to keep Lionel Messi despite the talisman’s recent fury.
The 33-year-old superstar has not held back in revealing his disgust with the state of the Catalan giants, both on and off the field, and speculation has mounted over his future after the Champions League humiliation.
Ronaldo, however, believes that Barcelona’s fall from grace would become even more stark should Messi decide to make the sensational decision of parting ways with the club this summer.
The heavy defeat against Bayern Munich has shed further light on the chaos that has gripped Barcelona in recent seasons, with Messi reserving particular frustration over the poor decisions taken by controversial president Josep Bartomeu.
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A mass first-team exodus is now expected after the arrival of Ronaldo Koeman, and Messi’s dilemma still remains far from clear after he cut short his holiday to hold showdown talks with the new head coach.
But despite the awkward stand-off, Ronaldo is adamant that Barcelona should prevent Messi from leaving.
He told Marca: ‘Messi is the reference point for this team, and if I was Barcelona, I would not let him leave in any case.
‘He has been a great player, and has a very intense relationship with the club.
‘The situation has been exaggerated by their Champions League defeat. However, Messi needs his teammates to help him.
‘Barcelona need to try something new next season. But their main player leaving is not the solution.’